DAR Vol. 3 Chapter 9 Part 1
Chapter 9 – Before a New Journey
Within the grand conference hall of the Adventurers’ Guild headquarters in the Kingdom of Perdu. Tens of people, sitting at a round table, were engaged in a fervent discussion. More than half of them looked to be advanced in age, but there were some who seemed to be in their 40s or 50s.
They were the top brass of the Adventurers’ Guild, charged with its management and leadership.
“What do you suggest we do, then!?”
An angry voice rattled the grand conference hall. The conference, which started in the afternoon, did not proceed well, and it was almost evening already.
The main topic was “How to deal with the annihilation of the Hero Party”.
About one month before the conference, the newly appointed Hero Party “Crack of Dawn” was reported to be annihilated, so after an investigation, it rose as a topic in the conference.
The report stated that, in an encounter with a large number of golems, more than half of Crack of Dawn’s members had been killed, while the others were rendered out of commission. If this was all there was to it, it wouldn’t be a problem. There were precedents of Hero Parties being destroyed soon after their appointment.
Adventuring was a trade that could end -or be put to an end- anytime after all. There was nothing unusual about a party being annihilated.
This time, the circumstances were very different from the norm. Especially concerning the servant beasts that the Hero Party possessed.
A gryphon and magic wolf twins. The gryphon was Crack of Dawn’s main offensive power and the principal reason why they had been chosen as Hero Party.
Compared to the adventurers’ parties chosen in the past, the evaluation of Crack of Dawn itself was lower. Their command of a gryphon, a high-rank magic beast, however, allowed them to attract attention easily, so the Adventurers’ Guild decided that they would be an effective tool for promotion and boosted their evaluation artificially, then granted them the title of Hero Party.
That very gryphon and the magic wolf twins, however, removed their Subjugation Collars and fled from the party. It was not clear if they did so before or after the party was decimated, but that fact in of itself was a problem.
The Subjugation Collar, used by the Adventurers’ Guild to tame magic beasts, was equipped with a failsafe device. In case the magic beast one attempted to tame resisted the mental control magic contained in the collar, the collar would be rejected and impossible to equip.
It was meant to show clearly when the taming process failed, so that the course of action could quickly switch to exterminating the magic beast in question.
Additionally, the collar was also made so that the magic beast equipped with it could never take it off on their own, even if the tamer ordered them to do so. The only ones capable of removing it were the tamer and the caretakers registered by the tamer. If anyone else tried removing it, the collar would not unlock.
Moreover, even if someone authorized tried to remove the collar, it was only possible within the range of the “Subjugation Barrier”, which had the same effects as the collar. This was meant to prevent the freed magic beast from going on a rampage or escaping.
Lastly, another little known failsafe was that, in case the tamer died or the collar was destroyed, the servant beast would die as well. It was a powerful mental manipulation spell that could also be called a curse.
If the gryphon had truly escaped and was now living freely, it meant that the Subjugation Collar was ineffective. It didn’t matter whether the gryphon had removed it on its own or the collar came off by accident. It was a serious issue for the Adventurers’ Guild, which had a monopoly on Subjugation Collar production and sales.
“The only way is to hide the fact that it ran away. We cannot let people doubt the collar’s effects.”
“The All-Rounder took the beasts in and tamed them again, didn’t he? There’s no way to hide that.”
Another issue was the person who took the runaway magic beasts under his protection. After fleeing from Crack of Dawn, the gryphon and magic wolf twins were taken in by an All-Rounder Crack of Dawn discarded from the party, who tamed them again. It was unthinkable for servant beasts to seek human protection again after being freed from subjugation. As far as the report went, that was the whole truth.
There might be the possibility that the All-Rounder boy tamed the magic beasts without using the collar. There were examples of weak magic beasts successfully tamed even without it.
It was difficult to think that a gryphon could have been tamed like that, but the possibility -however small- was there. There was no other possible conclusion. If that was true, however, it would mean that the gryphon and the magic wolf twins’ *true master* was an All-Rounder boy. Yet another grave issue.
The Adventurers’ Guild allowed full-fledged members to become professional tamers if they could subjugate magic beasts. No apprentices or even inferior All-Rounders have ever been recognized as tamers.
As long as they didn’t train under a professional mentor and recognized as full-fledged, All-Rounders could never be nothing but All-Rounders. This also included tamers, despite the fact that this profession did not have a master-disciple system.
If the All-Rounder boy was a phenomenal tamer who managed to subjugate even a gryphon, the master-disciple system would be seen as pointless and chaos would ensue in the adventurers’ society.
Furthermore, if it became known that the whole reason why Crack of Dawn became a Hero Party was an All-Rounder boy…the guild would become a laughingstock. It could even bring forth the collapse of the “Hero” title and the “Adventurer Rank” system.
…how can we brush it under the rug? How can we make it so nothing actually happened?
The top brass elites rubbed their temples, deeply concerned.
“…he’s just an All-Rounder, isn’t he? Just have him assassinated…”
Someone’s lips finally leaked the words that everyone thought but no one dared to say.
All-Rounders, originally, were as valuable as roadside pebbles. If they were in the way, you could just kick them to a place where they wouldn’t bother anyone.
“….can it be done? He might be an All-Rounder, but he has a gryphon protecting him!”
“Have him targeted when he’s alone and…if the collar works properly this time, the gryphon would go down with him too…”
The atmosphere was heavy. No one continued talking, but a conclusion was finally reached. Assassins were dispatched to the All-Rounder’s home…
In the capital of the kingdom of Perdu…
In a restaurant’s room, the leading members of the Merchants’ Guild were having dinner after their regular meeting. Dozens of members were present, freely enjoying the luxurious food buffet, drinks, and conversation.
Any serious topics were already taken care of in the meeting, so now they were mostly talking about recent personal events or any other lighthearted topics in general.
“….then you’re sure that those magic potions come from the Coralde trading company?”
“Yes, it looks like one of the alchemists from Coralde trading company developed a new recipe.”
“That company again…? This is going to be a headache…”
A few weeks prior, a new kind of magic potion started circulating in the kingdom. These potions were said to be 150% as effective as regular magic potions of the same type.
Magic potions were only effective if prepared with set amounts of ingredients and set recipes: even if one added more medicinal herbs, said to be the most important ingredient, the resulting effect would not improve much.
In the field of magic potions, making something 150% more effective than normal was simply absurd, something believed to be impossible. Some appraisers thought it was just a publicity stunt aimed at those who couldn’t obtain the potions yet, but when they finally examined the potions, they almost didn’t believe their own appraisal.
It was all true.
“That’s a menace, isn’t it…can’t we force them to make the recipe public?”
“It’s an original recipe, so it won’t be easy…all the more if the recipe is owned by the company…”
Basic recovery potion recipes were highly beneficial to society, so they were made public. It was allowed, however, to keep original recipes based on such basic recipes secret. It was an internationally accepted rule, so it would be very difficult to change.
On the surface, at least.
“Just make up a reason and have them come out with it, I say.”
“First of all, we should find out who created it.”
“…now that you mention it…I seem to recall that the Coralde company registered an alchemist to the Creators’ Guild, going as far as almost violating their rules…”
“Ooh, I see…”
The Merchants’ Guild leading members looked at each other, smiles plastered on their faces. No one said anything, but they were all clearly thinking of the same thing.
If I can get my hands on that alchemist…
Fantasizing about such a future, they started crafting plans to leave the competition in the dust.
“By the way, I heard that Adaman adventurers defeated a herd of Silver Golems in a magic beast forest and sold a large amount of silver to the Coralde company. It would be a shame if they were visited by thieves…”
“Thieves are troublesome indeed. If something like that happened, his lordship couldn’t keep quiet.”
“Oh no, but those Silver Golems were born from a mine newly discovered in the Adaman county, and since so many of them were born, they say that the mine dried up already. Since the Coralde company bought most of that silver, it adds insult to injury…his lordship is furious, they say.”
“Is that so.”
“If thieves truly visited the Coralde company, his lordship might find some relief…at the same time, if any proof of Coralde’s illegal acts came up…his lordship would gladly confiscate their finances as well…”
“Why yes, if you put it that way, it sounds plausible…then, if the alchemist in question finds himself without a place of employment, he would have to seek a new one…”
And so, bands of thieves visited the Coralde trading company…
In a certain country, in a certain royal castle, in a certain throne room…
“Hmm…so the Perdu kingdom officially stated that the gryphon belonged to the Hero Party?”
“And, it hasn’t been made public yet, but the Hero Party died, right? And the gryphon went back into town with someone else? Makes no sense to me.”
In a room filled with golden decorations glowing in the setting sun, a young man, as gorgeous as the room he was in, was thoroughly enjoying the conversation. A rough-looking, warrior-like man was before him, kneeling with his head lowered.
“The Subjugation Collar is supposed to be equipped with an escape prevention device, right? To kill the beast?”
“Yes. If a servant beast escaped and caused damages or casualties, the Adventurers’ Guild would have to take responsibility. The collar is equipped with an instant death magic spell to prevent escape, that is certain.”
They were talking about the gryphon which appeared in the Adaman county of the kingdom of Perdu. The gryphon had flown in the sky over Adaman, then flew off immediately. It happened about one month before, but, as it happened in a faraway location, the detailed report only just arrived.
“In that case, it can’t be the Hero Party’s gryphon…hmm, I guess the liar here is the Perdu royalty? But they’re so dumb that they didn’t even find discover our spies even once…I can’t imagine them being able to keep secrets. The Adventurers’ Guild people, then? In any case, we can’t just accept that’s what happened. Continue the investigation.”
“Ah, you can go yourself if you want. It looks fun, doesn’t it? I mean, a gryphon! A real gryphon! I want to go myself, to be honest…but I can’t, right?”
“That is out of the question.”
“Yeah, I knew you’d say that…”
The warrior-like man did not move a muscle or an inch of his expression before the gorgeous young man. He looked just like he was made of rock.
“It would be cool if it was a gryphon from the Citadel Dungeon…if things stirred over there, then all sorts of fun stuff would happen. You like fun stuff, don’t you?”
The man simply replied mechanically, in complete contrast to the gorgeous young man, who looked like he was positively enjoying himself.
“Oh, and the man who brought back the gryphon, Roa, was it? Look him up too, and if he looks fun we’ll bring him to our side. Make him fall in love maybe, so everyone is happy in the end. Take all the time you need, but that’s the plan. If he’s not fun, though, just get rid of him, chop-chop.”
“Aah, I can’t wait!”
Only the voice of the beautiful young man echoed in the extravagant room.
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